By Raul Samaniego
NORWALK – During a neighborhood watch organizing and information meeting at Hermosillo Park, Norwalk’s director of public safety, Carlos Ramos, addressed questions and concerns from the approximately 40 residents from mostly South Norwalk.
Those items discussed at the June 17 meeting included status of current criminal investigations, city ordinance violations, and the appropriate process to report violations.
The longest discussion of the morning was regarding the discharge of illegal fireworks currently occurring, culminating in a “war zone-like” atmosphere ahead of the July 4th holiday.
Ramos reviewed the fines for the possession and/or discharging of illegal fireworks as a fine of $1,000 and the confiscation of the fireworks.
On a more positive note, Ramos shared his “shock,” that no injuries or property damage have been reported in the city in recent years as a result of illegal fireworks.
“We’ve been lucky,” said Ramos in a follow-up discussion.
Along with Ramos, those in attendance available for questions were Norwalk’s Mayor Luigi Vernola, Vice Mayor Leonard Shryock, and Councilmembers Tony Ayala and Margarita Rios.
Members of Norwalk’s Public Safety Department as well as deputies from Norwalk’s Sheriff Station were also available after the open session to discuss any issues that might come up.
One resident expressed her concern over remaining anonymous if a report were given regarding illegal fireworks or for that matter, any concern.
According to Ramos, all callers can remain anonymous if they request it.
Unfortunately, some deputies were said to have exposed some callers’ identity when in the field. Ramos promised this irregularity would get addressed.
Ramos also reminded the audience that most of the illegal fireworks, “were coming from Nevada and Arizona and not directly from China.”
“In the old days, we’d all head down to Tijuana and buy a pack of firecrackers.”
He noted that the fireworks of choice seem to be “the mortar style” fireworks.
These resemble the air bursting explosions like those of larger professional shows (akin to the city’s own July 3 scheduled pageant).
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Here are some of the highlights of the city’s rules and regulations regarding the possession and use of fireworks in Norwalk:
• Only “safe and sane” fireworks are to be sold, purchased or possessed in the city of Norwalk.
• No one shall possess fireworks before 10 a.m. on July 1 or after 10 p.m. on July 4.
• Only discharged July 1, 2, 3, 4, between 10 a.m. and 10 p,m,
• Only sold (legally) July 1, 2, 3, 4, between 10 a.m. and 10 p,m,
• Must be 18-years-old or older to purchase fireworks.
• Anyone under 18, must be supervised by an adult age 21 or older.
• No one shall possess or discharge fireworks on city property.
• Citations will be issued for possession, discharging or distributing illegal fireworks and the fine is $1,000.
According to Ramos, the goal is to insure “everyone has a safe holiday.”
Any questions may be directed to the Public Safety Department at (562) 929-5732 or the Norwalk Sheriff's Station at (562) 863-8711.